Welcome to Patisserie Week on The Great British
Bake Off Baking Show and bloody fikken hell do we have an scheißsturm on our hands. There are plenty of things to say about this year’s semifinal and there’s no way I’ll be able to get to them all, so encourage you to let out all your rage in the comments section so that we, together, can create a fuller picture of this episode for generations to come. That being said, let’s get straight to the most important part of this whole situation:
Yeah that’s right I tried to warn you wankers but nobody wanted to listen. The only people who should be surprised are people who have never seen this show before. Please remember that I get angry at the show on a professional basis, and I know my shit. I probably should be considered the greatest GBBO recapper in the world, but I can’t because I’m American. Yeah... that’s gotta be it.
The bakers face a difficult challenge of turning delicate cakes and into eight flawless pastries and I’m not going to talk about them at all. How can I.
As I stated clearly in my Bread Week recap, I did not want to have to make murder jokes about Jürgen this season, because I’m sure the average German wishes we’d all stop bringing up the sex cannibals. I held my tongue during his trombone jam session during Cake Week (which we all know is the most sinister of the brass instruments), and I said nothing during Biscuit Week, despite the cannibalism-themed cold open. (A clue, perhaps?) But then the man made an edible baby, and now this?
Opera cakes are one of the most exquisite pastries on earth, made with thin layers of coffee-soaked almond sponge cake, indulgent chocolate ganache, and decadent coffee French buttercream. Jürgen says “his wife” decided his opera cakes would be murdered themed, on account of him adding beets to his recipe. Unsurprisingly, Jürgen happens to be a big fan of the opera, mentioning his favorite is Alban Berg’s Wozzeck. Let’s take a listen:
Prue says Jürgen’s murder cakes are “sensational,” their texture’s “absolutely perfect,” and that it’s a “pity I’m not the one who hands out handshakes.” Paul, on the other hand, complains he doesn’t taste any beet; something he might have expected if he’d ever had a beet cake before. Beets have been used in Central and Eastern European baking for centuries, as they can add color and sweetness to a cake without imparting any strong “beety” flavors.
Somehow, Paul Hollywood—a man who is an expert on German cakes, mind you—does not seem to be familiar with the existence of these particular cakes. As such, he decides to give Jürgen a short lecture about how beets can add color and sweetness to a cake, but not flavor. As always, Paul Hollywood is the smartest man in the tent, which is why he’s the only person who can give out handshakes that matter.
Prue tells Jürgen that if she could have given him a handshake, she would have, but she’s not allowed to wield that sort of power because she’s a woman. (Probably.)
You may have noticed that for the first time in two weeks, I made it all the way through the Signature bake without mentioning how hot Chigs is once. That’s because I was saving it all for the Technical Challenge, which I had predicted would be boring. And what do you know, I was right! Again!
To those who dare say that Chigs is “not that hot,” may I remind you that baking is only a part-time hobby he picked up a year ago, which he squeezes in between rock climbing, playing guitar, remodeling his house by himself, and taking care of his mother like the good man he his. I know I don’t have to bring this up every single week, but I’m a married 41-year-old woman raising two kids so please just let me have this.
Chigs comes in 4th, Crystelle is 3rd, Giuseppe is 2nd, and Jürgen is the victor. Had to make sure that was on the record, because I’m sure some of you may have opinions about it, and I am excited to read all about them in the comments.
Showstopper Challenge: Prissy pants pastries set around an edible centerpiece that no one will actually eat because who wants to be the asshole who eats someone’s centerpiece
As I said last week: all four of these bakers are more than worthy of winning, and this episode proved it in spades. Every single one of them came into the tent saying patisserie was their weakness, but even when they were bad, they were still good enough to make all of us at home feel wholly inadequate.
You could argue Chigs should have gone home because he had a lousy technical, but he a handshake-grade signature, and a showstopper Paul described as “exceptional.” The same exact thing can be said for Crystelle: handshake signature, “flawless” showstopper, but a “meh” technical. Giuseppe could have been in trouble, too, all because his pine nut patisserie could have been a little more pine nutt-ier. It could have been a real “pull a name out of a hat” situation, but it wasn’t, because Jurgen’s decided to make prissy pants pastries with matcha and, as we learned during last season’s Japanese Week, Paul Hollywood hates matcha almost as much as he hates not being able to taste beets.
But the real reason Jürgen isn’t progressing to next week’s final (and the reason I’ve known this was coming for weeks) is because there is nothing this show loves more than pissing everyone off, because anger is the ultimate form of #engagement. Don’t let yourself fall for this sort of flagrant emotional manipulation! That’s exactly what these monsters want you to do. Besides, you don’t need to worry about Jürgen. He’ll be just fine.